Author Topic: From C&B to Conversion  (Read 9623 times)

Offline blackpowder

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From C&B to Conversion
« on: June 26, 2019, 08:53:44 am »
Hi all around,

I am fairly new to blackpowder shooting. My only C&B Revolver is an old 70s vintage .44 Colt-Clone made by Faul-Centaure in Belgium. Its a very solid gun and I like shooting it. Now I am looking for a good new clone in the same caliber, which, at some point I can also convert to cartridge loads like the .45 long colt or 44-40.
1. Can anyone recommend a good quality pistol (I hear the Italian clones are well made) ?
2. It should be suitable for conversion as well and the necessary parts available on the market (which is not the case with my Centaure).
3. To which cartridge caliber can a .44 C&B most easily be converted?

Thanks for sharing your experience,

 :)
"A horse is a horse, it ain't make a difference what color it is" -  John Wayne

Offline Lucky R. K.

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Re: From C&B to Conversion
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2019, 09:29:05 am »
Hello Blackpowder,
Your Cenature is indeed a well made collectable pistol and should not be shot. I would recommend replicas of either the Colt 1851 Navy or the 1860 Army made by either Uberiti or Pietta. The bores are .451 so you could use conversion cylinders chambered in 45 Colt. I shoot 45 Cowboy Special in mine with great results.

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Offline Major 2

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Re: From C&B to Conversion
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2019, 09:32:21 am »
Pietta or Uberti are both supported by Kirst Konverters ...both are fine BP guns and both need some adjustment for fit, and reliability.

Fact is if you buy a new gun from either manufacturer, then buy the Gated Kirst Konventer & pay a smith to fit the mods & adjust the gun, frankly you'll have more money invested than if you had purchased a new Conversion for Uberti . Since you asked about 44 ( your Barrel will be .451 )

The plus side ...very nice gun , forged frame , good quality and many calibers to choose from ( 38 special  44 Spcl , Russian or Colt 45 Colt )

Your Centaure is nice gun and can be custom fitted with conversion, I think from the Kirst Pietta part

There is also The Kenny Howell R&D drop in conversion from Taylor's in Winchester Va. these are also made for Pietta & Uberti.
the plus here is the gun does not need the loading gate cut in... downside you need to load off the frame ( no loading gate )

others will chime in ..but also tune in some U-tube videos to help make up your mind.
when planets align...do the deal !

Offline Coffinmaker

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Re: From C&B to Conversion
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2019, 09:35:12 am »
Sure.  Happy to oblige.  Just to review, your Centaure .44 has approximately a .451 bore which makes it actually a .45 (Don't ask how that happened).

If you desire a compatible modern replica to play with, you only have two choices at present.  Uberti built guns and Pietta built guns.  To function satisfactorily, both will require a little set up.  The Uberti will require more "work" than a Pietta.  My personal suggestion would be a Pietta.  Pietta offer lots of barrel and choices of configuration.  One of which is an 1851 pattern gun in .44 which is actually a 45.  Uberti leave you with one configuration, an 1860 replica.

For converting, you only have one option with a .44 percussion gun.  You can convert to a .45 in which you can shoot 45 Colt, 45 Schofield and Cowboy 45 Special cartridges.  You have two ways to convert, an R & D style two piece converter or a Gated Conversion from Kirst Konverters.  The gated conversion is NOT simple.  The R & D type is pretty much "Drop In" with only minor fitting required.

You can only convert to one caliber.  45 is it.  My personal recommendation is Pietta.  More choices.  By the way, your Centaure is one of the best made replicas on the planet.  Take care of it.

Offline AntiqueSledMan

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Re: From C&B to Conversion
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2019, 02:20:39 pm »
Hello blackpowder,

I have to agree with Coffinmaker, Pietta is the cheapest way to go.
Both the Howell and the Kirst would be a 5 shot after conversion,
unless you want to hire someone to make you a 6 shot in 44 Colt (not cheap).
The Howell will require removal of barrel & cylinder to reload.
The Kirst with loading gate & ejector can be loaded in place.
Both will probably have some timing issues and will need to be looked at,
and switching beck to the 6 shot percussion cylinder probably will require being timed again.

AntiqueSledMan.

Offline Coffinmaker

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Re: From C&B to Conversion
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2019, 03:14:51 pm »

Blackpowder and Sled Man,

Yes .... and No.  When setting up a Pietta for the R & D conversion cylinder, the Hand must be retimed.  One will note, after timing for the R&D, if the gun is cycled very slowly, the Percussion cylinder will not quite "Carry Up" into full lock and battery.  However, when cocked "Briskly" as in when one is actually shooting it, the inertia of the percussion cylinder will cause it to carry up just fine.

I would suggest shopping EMF, Dixie GW, Midway USA and Cabellas for something you REALLY like.  Pietta 1860s are fine guns.  You will at the very least, want to change out the Main Spring and the OEM nipples.  If you really wish to invest, they can be set up to run every bit as reliable as Suppository Shooters   ;D

Offline Abilene

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Re: From C&B to Conversion
« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2019, 03:25:13 pm »
...Both the Howell and the Kirst would be a 5 shot after conversion,...

I thought the Howell is 6-shot (with angled chambers).

Offline Long Johns Wolf

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Re: From C&B to Conversion
« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2019, 12:17:00 am »
FWIW: The Centaures' rifling groove dia is adjusted to the chambers' dia, i.e. .446" on all seven (7) accounts.
Long Johns Wolf
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Offline AntiqueSledMan

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Re: From C&B to Conversion
« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2019, 05:18:41 am »
Hello Abilene,

Howell did that for the 1858, then sold the patent to Taylors & Co.
The are now making a gated 6 shot cylinders for the 1858.
The 1860 cylinder isn't big enough to put six 45 Colts into.
Even with 44 Colt, many originals broke through at the bolt notches.
The factory built conversions use a larger cylinder.

AntiqueSledMan.

Offline blackpowder

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Re: From C&B to Conversion
« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2019, 06:07:50 am »
Thanks for all the feedback. There are more possibilities and options than I thought. One interesting proposition is to convert my Centaure. I didn't think that possible for lack of proper parts. However, I do not want to change or alter anything on the pistol. So the drop-in R & D type conversion with perhaps only minor fitting work would be an option. I am not the 1st owner but I think it is in out of the box condition. My Centaure is not a historically very accurate model: Stainless steel Model 1860 Colt clone in .44 with a 5.5" barrel and 6 shot fluted cylinder (like the model 1862 police). I don't think this configuration existed in the 1860s. Also, I can only load a maximum of 26 grains behind a thin cardboard wad and a 451 RB (I think that was a safety measure because of the fluted cylinder, though, I think unnecessary with modern steels). So what do you guys think? Can I do it?
"A horse is a horse, it ain't make a difference what color it is" -  John Wayne

Offline blackpowder

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Re: From C&B to Conversion
« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2019, 06:13:31 am »
FWIW: The Centaures' rifling groove dia is adjusted to the chambers' dia, i.e. .446" on all seven (7) accounts.
Long Johns Wolf
@Long Johns Wolf: Can I use .45 Long Colt with my bore?
"A horse is a horse, it ain't make a difference what color it is" -  John Wayne

Offline Long Johns Wolf

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Re: From C&B to Conversion
« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2019, 07:18:37 am »
I know a smith in Texas who installed his proprietary 5-shot Thuer cylinder in .45 S&W cal. into at least one Centaure.
He claims to shoot .451" soft lead bullets through the .446" rifling grooves of the barrel.
FWIW all my Centaure conversions are fitted with cylinders chambered for the "modern" .44 Colt cartridge with their barrels lined to .429".
Long Johns Wolf
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Offline Long Johns Wolf

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Re: From C&B to Conversion
« Reply #12 on: June 27, 2019, 07:24:20 am »
BP and campfire: your Centaure is a Marshal Model 1st variation 2nd sub-variation.
Their total production is only ca. 800 specimens between 1972 and 1973.
In the U.S.A. they are very, very rare, less than one handful is recorded.
Can you, please share the S/N with me for the Centaure data collection of www.1960nma.org.
Thanks,
Long Johns Wolf
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Offline blackpowder

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Re: From C&B to Conversion
« Reply #13 on: June 27, 2019, 09:19:59 am »
BP and campfire: your Centaure is a Marshal Model 1st variation 2nd sub-variation.
Their total production is only ca. 800 specimens between 1972 and 1973.
In the U.S.A. they are very, very rare, less than one handful is recorded.
Can you, please share the S/N with me for the Centaure data collection of www.1960nma.org.
Thanks,
Long Johns Wolf
Sure, the SN is 13807 and here are a few more pics. So, I better leave it as it is, right? One correction to my previous post: I shoot 140 grain .454 (11.55mm) lead RBs through it (not 451). I am not sure what exact bore I have but they load easy and shoot well. Do you know what the bore diameter is?
"A horse is a horse, it ain't make a difference what color it is" -  John Wayne

Offline Abilene

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Re: From C&B to Conversion
« Reply #14 on: June 27, 2019, 09:43:10 am »
AntiqueSledMan,
Yes, it was the '58 I was thinking of that was a 6 shot Howell, thanks for the correction.  :)

Offline Long Johns Wolf

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Re: From C&B to Conversion
« Reply #15 on: June 27, 2019, 10:12:59 am »
BP & campfire: Centaure rifling groove diameter is .446" as are chamber diameters.
Recommended ball size is .451".
Thanks for sharing the serial number.
#13807 was produced at Fabriques d'Armes Unis de Li?ge (FAUL) in Belgium in early 1973.
Your Centaure was first recorded in our Centaure data  bank in 2011.
At that time she was in Germany.
So, she has some history to be discovered.
Incidentally, these Marshal models are the only of the five basic Centaure models known without top of the barrel marking.
Long Johns Wolf
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Offline Crow Choker

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Re: From C&B to Conversion
« Reply #16 on: June 27, 2019, 06:59:03 pm »
Me, I'd leave the Centaure as is being they, especially the one in question are among the rarer cap and ball copies produced. I'd do as has been suggested in other posts and buy either a Pietta or Uberti cap and ball revolver, conversion cylinder, and ejector if wanted. (I favor Uberti over Pietta, but that's a mote point). In looking at the two brands of conversion cylinders available, I'd prefer the Kirst with an ejector due to the R&D being a PIA having to take the cylinder off each time to reload. In reality, I'd just buy a Uberti current model Open Top or conversion model if  cartridges are wanted to be fired. Decided this long ago in buying mine as by the time ya buy a cap and ball revolver and conversion cylinder and/or ejector ya have as much or more in dollars spent as buying a factory made model and don't have the need for any fitting. Someone else mentioned this also. Don't mean to toss mud on the people making and/or selling conversion cylinders, but do the math. I'm not as up on the Belgium made models as some, but as Long John has posted, you have one I wouldn't mess with and possibly ruin the value on. Just shoot it as a percussion hogleg and enjoy as is. I've thought of doing a Kirst Conversion on one of my large frame Dragoons some time as there aren't any conversions made by anyone using the big Dragoon frame and they are my favorite frame of cap and balls I have. Guess that would be the only time I'd go with conversion cylinder route. Just my thoughts.
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Online 45 Dragoon

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Re: From C&B to Conversion
« Reply #17 on: June 27, 2019, 10:31:19 pm »
Crow Choker, oh contraire !! Kirst has been making 45C conversions for Walkers/Dragoons  for many many years!  My forum  name "45 Dragoon" comes form the fact that my favorite series of the Colt open top revolvers  is the Dragoon (any model  but Whitney  gets the biggest nod!) and mine are (since new) chambered in 45C. They were bought new, and new Kirst's fitted  and I do what I do today because of those two Dragoons.

  You can see the Konversions on Kirst's website.  I'm currently  working on a gated conversion  for the ROA. It will allow one to shoot "Ruger only" loads as well.

Anyway,  just wanted you to know that you can get conversions for your horse pistols  .  .  . 

Mike
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Offline Crow Choker

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Re: From C&B to Conversion
« Reply #18 on: June 27, 2019, 10:55:19 pm »
Crow Choker, oh contraire !! Kirst has been making 45C conversions for Walkers/Dragoons  for many many years! 
Anyway,  just wanted you to know that you can get conversions for your horse pistols  .  .  . 

Mike


Thanks Mike for the info and time to tell me. Guess I shoulda' 'splained' meself better. I've been aware of Krist's conversion cylinders and ejectors for Colt Dragoon Models fer a number of years, just haven't taken the 'plunge' to do it. What I meant in my post "there aren't any conversions made by anyone using the big Dragoon frame" was that Uberti or anyone isn't manufacturing a revolver along the lines Uberti does with the Open Top, Richards II, Richards/Mason using the Dragoon frame as a base for the revolver that you could just go out and buy ready to shoot. Won't be a true representative of a original Colt 1800 era production item, except for the ones Colt R&D may have messed around with or ones converted by private smiths back in the day. My Dragoons, Walker, and Transition Dragoon are my favorite cap and ballers. Have a love affair with the big Ol' heavy beasts. Handy for "smakin surly bartenders" too! Would like someday to convert probably my 2nd or 3rd Model Dragoon using a Kirst product. Admire yer work.
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Offline Professor Marvel

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Belgian on GB ....
« Reply #19 on: June 28, 2019, 02:41:31 am »
My Good Netizens -

since our newish member "Blackpowder" mentioned the Belgian Centaur, I thought I would let everyone know there is a
fine looking 8" Belgian CENTENNIAL 1860 New Model Army Revolver over on Gunbroker

https://www.gunbroker.com/item/819676877

I don't even know the seller, but hey, go check it out if you like...

yhs
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Online 45 Dragoon

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Re: From C&B to Conversion
« Reply #20 on: June 28, 2019, 06:21:19 am »
Ahhh Crow Choker, my mistake .  .  .    and I agree !! I know it's the "expensive" way to get a converted horse pistol, but what are we to do? You're right, Uberti doesn't offer a factory version so .  .  .  we have no choice.  But, I gotta say, a converted Dragoon is just nothing shy of an amazing beast!  Thanks for the kind words.

Mike
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Offline Coffinmaker

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Re: From C&B to Conversion
« Reply #21 on: June 28, 2019, 01:05:22 pm »

I would like to share .... ALL of my Cap Guns are set up to load "Off the Gun". The wedge is very easy to set and remove.  The bore in the barrel lug has been polished as has the front of the arbor to promote easy removal.  I have no trouble with the R&D type of two piece conversion cylinder.  It only takes just a few seconds.

The Kirst Konverter gated conversion is UBER KOOL.  They are NOT just a "drop in" proposition.  They require some serious work.  They also require laying out some serious Folding Green.  There is also a serious CAVEAT.  Once you have cut the Cartridge Slot in the frame, you have MANUFACTURED a firearm.  You are allowed to do that.  For YOURSELF.  You must be very careful if you decide to sell it, not to run afoul BATFE.  If you don't have a license to manufacture, everything MUST go thru an FFL.  The BATFE DOES NOT have a sense of humor and WILL NOT take prisoners.

If you are curious, scroll up to STORM where pictures of my latest Gated Conversions reside.

Offline blackpowder

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Re: From C&B to Conversion
« Reply #22 on: June 29, 2019, 07:32:39 am »
Sure.  Happy to oblige.  Just to review, your Centaure .44 has approximately a .451 bore which makes it actually a .45 (Don't ask how that happened).

If you desire a compatible modern replica to play with, you only have two choices at present.  Uberti built guns and Pietta built guns.  To function satisfactorily, both will require a little set up.  The Uberti will require more "work" than a Pietta.  My personal suggestion would be a Pietta.  Pietta offer lots of barrel and choices of configuration.  One of which is an 1851 pattern gun in .44 which is actually a 45.  Uberti leave you with one configuration, an 1860 replica.

For converting, you only have one option with a .44 percussion gun.  You can convert to a .45 in which you can shoot 45 Colt, 45 Schofield and Cowboy 45 Special cartridges.  You have two ways to convert, an R & D style two piece converter or a Gated Conversion from Kirst Konverters.  The gated conversion is NOT simple.  The R & D type is pretty much "Drop In" with only minor fitting required.

You can only convert to one caliber.  45 is it.  My personal recommendation is Pietta.  More choices.  By the way, your Centaure is one of the best made replicas on the planet.  Take care of it.
@coffinmaker
Much obliged for the explanations. As others agree as well, I will leave the Centaure as it is - a C&B gun. Since it is a not so common model I wouldn't want to do any conversion work to it (least of all cutting a loading gate into the frame). I will convert a Pietta 1851 Navy clone in .44 RB to .45LC. I gather from you and others this is the only or at least the best option. I purchased this gun today from a friend. It is a 2015 manufacture new in the box (he decided percussion guns are too much work to shoot and got a Uberti Colt M1873 in .45LC instead). The Pietta seems good to go out of the box. Locks up good and cycles well with no apparent timing issues. How can I tell if it needs any additional set up, fitting or work done to it? I will shoot it and test it this weekend at the range.

Thank you everyone !

 
« Last Edit: June 29, 2019, 07:36:58 am by blackpowder »
"A horse is a horse, it ain't make a difference what color it is" -  John Wayne

Offline Coffinmaker

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Re: From C&B to Conversion
« Reply #23 on: June 29, 2019, 09:51:42 am »

A Pietta replica of the SAA is a fairly competent gun right out of the box.  Normally, all a Pietta needs to be fun to play with is an after-market Main Spring.

Have Fun!!

Offline blackpowder

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Re: From C&B to Conversion
« Reply #24 on: July 24, 2019, 10:18:26 am »
greets!

It's been a while but after long consideration I decided to leave both my C&B guns, the Centaure and the Pietta, as they are and just buy a new open top conversion from Uberti (seems to be the only real choice). I checked Taylor's in VA as some have suggested. They have a nice homepage but almost nothing in stock. ::) Anyone have a suggestion who stocks a good selection of open top Colt clones ?
THANKS!

 
"A horse is a horse, it ain't make a difference what color it is" -  John Wayne